Things Are Heating Up at Meerath Kabob House


Saturday night is the perfect time to gather with friends and try something new. That is just what we did last Saturday night. One of my favorite types of food is Indian- Pakistan and that is because when I first came to Chicago, I worked on Devon Avenue. It was a new world for me of spices and dishes. Once again, we had been given an invite to visit one of the quaint bistros that line the street known as “Little India.”  Each restaurant has its own dishes and its own personality. Meerath definitely had that.

Each dinner has to start with a beverage and on Devon , it starts with lassi. We have had sweet lassi , salty lassi, and different fruit flavors . This lassi had kind of a combination sweet /salty flavor with nutmeg sprinkled as a garnish. I love lassi , but I also like a sweet lassi and defintely love flavored lassi. There was plenty of water and it was definitely needed.

We started our taste adventure with the BBQ platter. Food at Meerath is char broiled and when you walk in , you can see where it is cooked. The leg and thigh were flavorful, but unfortunately too spicy. The sausage was also tasty, but made us run for the water glass. That is what is really great, Meerath also will make the food to your liking. If it is too hot, they will tone it down a little. They brought out a few naans, but my favorite was the garlic naan. It actually reminded me of garlic bread, but healthier. The chicken reshmi handi had a sauce that brought the temperature down and neutralized the spices. I also enjoyed the creaminess and the flavor of the coconut and green chilies. The bilochi kabob had an abundance of meat with the combination of beef and mutton. This too was a little more palatable to my American taste. Every dish that we tried was absolutely delicious and filled with flavor.

We always finish with dessert , and tonight we really went out on a limb. We dove into the culture fully with a regional dessert, carrot pudding. Though it was healthy , i think i prefer a chocolatey , gooey one . It certainly tastes better.

If you want to try something new and exciting, with a little bit of spice, then wander down to 2657 W Devon Avenue . They have take out and delivery so you can order from Grub Hub. They will be happy to lead you on a gastronomical adventure. Namaste.!


The chicken tikka and sheekh kabab are  one of the tasty dishes you’ll find at Meerath Kabob House


Healthy and very Indian is the Carrot pudding

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Winter Has a Little Bit More Flavor Thanks to Wyder’s Cider


I have never really been a beer person since college. I like my drinks with fruit and sweet. That goes for cocktails and wine as well. I drank beer in college because that is what you do in college, drink beer from kegs and play beer pong.

I got to try during the holidays a yummy cider that hails from British Columbia. It figures that it comes from Canada . They seem to know beer and liquor up there very well. Back in the seventies, my grandfather used to bring Canadian liquor and beer back into the states. He would only drink Canadian beer. This is the perfect marriage of beer and cider and as an Ohio girl, i am loving it. I grew up around cider and apples.

Wyder’s Cider comes in a few flavors, but I think that the one that has the most flavor is the wild raspberry. It is sweet, but not too sweet with a crisp flavor. The raspberry taste brings to mind summers by the lake and berry picking. The light taste is great with popcorn and burgers especially.

If you want to learn more go to their web site

dry-raspberry-ciderMy favorite

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Small Plates but Big Taste Awaits You at Knife and Tine


In the course of time, we have gotten to try so many cuisines. We have chomped on burgers and greasy fries, we have had so much pizza, and have dined everywhere from five star restaurants to holes in the wall. This time , we have found a real treasure that has been lauded in magazines and on television. The best part is that it is located right in Lincoln Park and the food is a gourmet delight. Unique food and a unique name await you at Knife and Tine.

You couldn’t walk ten feet without feeling the festive holiday spirit. The bistro was filled with out of town guests and holiday revelers. Candlelight gave a mellow feel with the jazz piped into the restaurant. Knife and Tine prides themselves on their wine list and other libations. The mixologist is truly an artist with shaker and liquors. I  wanted to try one of these concoctions , but didn’t feel like a cocktail. Instead, I got a mocktail that tasted tropical and fruity. The bartender also was glad to tell me what was in the drink and how simple it would be to construct the drink. Everyone is knowledgeable and friendly which makes for a pleasant dining experience. Everything is made in house too. The rolls are a dream with the flavored butter for the evening. On that particular evening, it was sea salt and lemon pepper. Delish.

There were so many wonderful starters that I wouldn’t know which one to pick.  We decided to go with the soft , sourdough pretzel. The best part of the pretzel was the caramel glaze on the top . The dip was made of horseradish cheddar cheese and there was no heat in it what so ever, only cheesy goodness. Perfect for a cold, winter night. The macaroni and cheese had a unique taste that I found out was beer and bacon sausage. Once again it was more robust than other establishments. I opted to try one of the delicious salads and Jen got a burger once again.

I had already vowed that in the new year I would eat healthier. The roasted cauliflower salad was the perfect option for that. The cauliflower was marinated with an in house brown butter vinagrette with goat cheese dusted on top with arugula and cherry tomatoes. Grilled chicken completed the salad hearty enough for a main dish. I got a taste of the burger too. It was meaty and the sauce they used was aptly named awesome sauce. I think I liked it a little more than her because I love carmelized onions and special buns. Jen is a traditionalist when it comes to burgers. She is not that daring.

If you have already made a resolution to give up dessert, then this is not the place. All of the desserts are of gourmet quality. The fillings are pure magic , perfect for the diner. Looking over the menu, we chose the chocolate silk pie. The crust was as light as air , so was the silk part. Chocolatey and satisfying. Once again the key word is gourmet. This place is definitely not for the faint of heart when it comes to food. You have to be able to appreciate it. If you crave chain food, this may not be the place for you. If you can feel the food and the experience , then make your way to Knife and Tine for a evening you will not soon forget.

Knife and Tine is located in Lincoln Park at 1417 W Fullerton, right down from the Fullerton El station. The restaurant is open until late evening. They also serve a weekend brunch as well.


The mocktail was as delicious as any cocktail


Grilled cauliflower salad that was filled with color and flavor


Light as air- french silk pie

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Award Winning Cuisine Awaits You At Bourgeois Pig


Winter has arrived and its time for all things comfort and warming. We are blessed to be in a town that embraces the festive spirit of the holidays. Whether you are shopping, ice skating, or exploring the Museum of Science and Industry , you need to sit down and refuel. We found the perfect place and it has that intellectual feel. Actually I have passed this place every time I attend church at St Clements. The patio is usually filled in the spring and summer with college students and people enjoying a cup of coffee. The place is the world famous Bourgeois Pig . It is famous, thanks to people like Rachel Ray and Adam Richman . But it is more like a cozy little corner where people can gather and play games or sit with their lap tops.

The wonderful and genial owner, Mason Green has been the owner for about 26 years. Along with DePaul students and assorted people from the late Chidren’s Hospital, Mason had great pleasure in telling us of the famous folk who have sat in the cafe. They include Sandra Bullock , X Files Gillian Anderson, and Tim Meadows. There was even a former barista who made the big time , Angel Olson., left to go on the road.

There have been enough stars to stop in, but the real star of Bourgeois Pig is the food and beverages. They have a great selection of teas to take home, savory drinks, and yummy deserts. Mason welcomed us in from the Arctic with the yummiest caffe mocha  . Maybe even better than Starbucks. The latte was made with Ghiradelli chocolate which made it even more luscious.


The one thing I loved about the salads and sandwiches is that they are named after famous works of literature .We got to try some of the more popular dishes at the Cafe. I had a special fondness for the Great Gatsby . I wonder if Shonda thought of the overindulged playboy when creating her POTUS for Scandal. . The sandwich consists of turkey, bacon, basil pesto and swiss cheese on herb  focaccio bread. It was a hearty sandwich that was defintely too large to handle. The other sandwich that we tried was a tribute to the poet , Walt Whitman. This sandwich seemed to be a little bit more healthy than the other with chicken strips and hummus , spinach, caesar dressing, and parmesan cheese. The best part was that it was a wrap. The other sandwich was a panini.


The salads are made with only the freshest ingredients. Actually so are the sandwiches. I have always loved salads so I really enjoyed the two that Mason chose for us. The spinach salad I would describe as springtime in a bowl. The strawberries actually brought some brightness to a dreary winter day. The goat cheese mixes so well with the other ingredients and the hard boiled egg also goes with the spring thing. The other salad was named after the Shakespearean comedy, A Midsummer’s Night Dream. It is a cornucopia of fruits like craisins and pears. sprinkled with goat cheese and covered with a homemade balsamic vinagrette. Since the pear is my favorite fruit, I chose as my favorite the second one , The Midsummer’s Night Dream.


We finished up with the yummy Ghiradelli brownie. It was a huge chunk of chocolate heaven. Full of pieces of Ghiradelli chocolate. This was not a small brownie, big enough for two to share. Oh and the food is reasonably priced and you are guaranteed to bring food home for lunch the next day. They also serve breakfast all day and have killer omelets that we will come back for another time. Mason also gifted us with two really cool t shirts from their special Cafe boutique with items like mugs and shirts.

So if you are walking around Fullerton shopping or just out for a stroll. Be sure to stop by the Pig , even if it is just for a cup of tea or coffee. See why the foodie stars love it so much.

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Holiday Gift Guide 2016


Ho Ho Ho! It’s that time of year again. I am sure you are panicking at this point and I am here to say …don’t ! It’s handled… plus Hanukkah is late this year so you are definitely handled. We have gotten some classy  gifts, fun gifts, and gifts guaranteed that you won’t return. So sit down, curl up with some hot chocolate or iced tea . depending on where you live.


Fairy Tale Brownies are a great hostess gift or something that everyone will love, grandma in the home , your hairdresser, doorman, or your employees. They will personalize the box and the recipient is guaranteed a box of chocolatey goodness. (Hey no one is following a diet right now) Everyone enjoys goodies. And they guarantee their product. The brownies contain real nuts and chocolate chunks. My favorite is the caramel filled .

frozen-jb-dispenserJelly Belly has a fun way to dispense their regular and organic candies. They have created these fun dispensers with popular characters. This one is fun because it will thrill your “Frozen” fans. It is also for adult Disney collectors as well. Olaf cranks the handle and the Jelly Bellys come out. For the New Year, Jelly Bellys are fat free and a great way to curb that craving.


Here is the Star Wars one . Perfect to include tickets to “Rogue” for your Sci- Fi fans. A storm trooper dispenses the candy in this one. These are also great for your office on your desk. They also make great decorations for the dorm or man cave as well. There are others in the series as well. For more info.


Always a great gift is theater tickets. Everyone knows I support the arts and no matter where you are , you can too. Get a season ticket subscription to your local community theater or if you are in Chicago , you are exposed to some of the best theatre in the world. Some of our biggest stars came from these stages like Jeff Perry from “Scandal”, Martha Plimpton of “The Real O Neals” Emmy nominated David Schwimmer and Johnny Galecki from “The Big Bang Theory.” Broadway in Chicago exposes people to the best musicals and they are great for the whole family. Upcoming this April, is the musical version of the Disney movie “Aladdin.”  All of the theatres in Chicago have great subscription ticket packages. So check these ones out


One of the hottest shows on television is “Empire”. It means music, power, and style. If you regularly visit the “Lyons” den, here is a great gift. It is fragrances for men and women that are based on “Empire’s” power couple -Luscious and Cookie. These two are dangerous and sexy  and you will be too. This would make a great gift for your bae.


Another great entertainment gift is box sets. If you have someone who loves to binge watch and really loves the show. Check out these titles from Universal, 20th century Fox, and ABC. Follow Beckett and Castle as they solve another crime. Sit down with your wine and popcorn as you follow the political intrigue of DC. Catch up with old and new friends on “Grey’s Anatomy” . The best part is that you can get any of the back seasons of the series as well.  Want to really go one a roller coaster ride ? Then try “How to Get Away With Murder” starring Golden Globe nominated Viola Davis. “Scandal” features another Golden Globe nominated actress Kerry Washington. Taraji P Henson is nominated as well. You can follow her and the drama of “Empire”.


For the theatre or entertainment buffs on your list , pick up John Mayer’s history of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. The company is world famous and from its ranks come some of the best known actors on television. Laurie Metcalf of “Roseanne” and “The Big Bang Theory” , John Mahoney , best known as Martin Crane on “Frasier”, Gary Sinise of “CSI NY ” and “Forest Gump”,  Martha Plimpton of “The Real O Neals” and Jeff Perry of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal.” It is very exciting to read the beginnings of this world class and Tony winning theatre in Chicago.



Courtesy of my friend and fellow PR czar Nicole, I came across these delicious and unusual chocolates that are perfect for chocolate connoiseurs . Great gift for Christmas , Hanukkah, and even Kwaanza. These chocolates come out of Memphis and if you hear some of the flavors you would understand why. Philip Ashley is a chef that prides himself on unusual flavors like Chess Pie and Collard Greens and sells in places like Neiman Marcus. Don’t be fooled by the flavors, they are delicious and also some are infused with liquor. Definitely worth considering as a great hostess or foodie gift.



Attention Browncoats and those who make you sit and watch Firefly DVDs, Entertainment Earth is your location for all things “Firefly”. Jen was gifted for Christmas with two exciting gifts. First, Jen’s head will be nice and warm thanks to her Jayne hat. That’s right, you too can get the hat that makes Jayne Jayne!  And isnt’ that cool? Another thing that just made her Nathan lovin heart beat was the Serenity slippers. They are an Entertainment Earth exclusive. If you want anything that is geek or pop culture, you can find it at Entertainment Earth


When I saw this on the day ofthe Mag Mile festival at Sephora, I had to have it. Thanks to the great people at Too Faced, I got my Christmas wish. (Well at least the one not involving a certain Presidential actor) This palette is great for glammin it up for the holidays and if you smell the makeup , you will want to eat it. The colors are delicious and so  is the melted chocolate lipstick included. Great gift for the glam girl or guy in your life (gbff)


Someone planning a trip to NYC or just want something for the ultimate theatre geek? Check out this great resource book from musical theatre expert, Steven M Friedman . It is chock full of useless theatre trivia, Steven’s picks for the best and worst, and one of my favorite features is the lists of songs for auditions. It is also a terrific gift for that senior who has decided to make the big leap to the Big Apple or head to school to major in theatre.


With my thoughts of moving to warmer climes, I wanted to look at some clothing that will make the transfer . That’s when my friend Jennifer, turned me on to this great organic clothing line., Simply Chickie . It is clothing that is good for the environment because it doesn’t contain pesticides and it is also good for your body. They specialize in baby clothes and women’s clothes. I love the design and i love the feel of the organic cotton.This shirt also contains bamboo. Gwendolyn Gardner is the creator and founder of this environmentally sound line . I love her motto “Spread love and laughter.” Not a bad idea at all.

opi-washington-collectionbreakfast-at-tiffanysOPI has married the best of pop culture with some of their best nail laquers with the shades in these two popular collections. This is just a small sample of the two collections, but it gives you a nice sampling. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is inspired by the iconic movie starring Audrey Hepburn. It conjures up images of glamour and sophistication and New York at the holidays. The Washington collection was actually designed by Kerry Washington and is based on her hit series, “Scandal” . It has the rich colors that are great with casual clothes and fall. It conjures up images of danger, power, and secret trysts with your Presidential lover.


It’s been a great year , so why not celebrate it. Here’s a gift for someone who longs for the Windy City or just plain loves the Cubs. Tervis made these wine glasses that bear the Cubs logo and celebrate that they are world champions. If you don’t want the Cubs , don’t worry. You can get them with your favorite team or your alma mater.Great for tailgating at the bowl games . Northwestern or any other school. Pair it with a great wine from a place like Eataly and you have the perfect gift . You can also get cool stuff like Star Wars water bottles and tumblers too.


 I have always had trouble with bras. I still remember the time when us 36ds couldn’t wear anything but white and beige bras, maybe black. I was so excited the first time I went into VS and bought a bra in purple. Well these are bras and lingerie that are for real women and the best part is that 10%  from sales benefits various breast cancer organizations and those who are fighting. There is bras for nursing, breast cancer patients, and lingerie that will make any woman any size, sexy. I love my velvety bra and wild print to remind me that I am a strong woman and a survivor. It also reminds me of another strong woman, Cookie Lyon. This is a gift to assure you that you are okay no matter the situation or size. It also might be something to buy for that special someone (right girls?)


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Christmas Is a Tradition at Historic Butch Mcguire’s


Walk into this Division Street establishment and you will find the Chicago equivalent of “Cheers” . That is , unless it is Christmas time.. Walk into this bar , and even the meanest of Scroogest will be singing Christmas carols. Another great thing about this place is that they will bend over backwards to make your visit special. But beware, this 55 year old bar and grille fills up fast and even though it is open until 4 am, it is SRO during the holidays and that includes a two hour wait to get in. This place is that popular.We have Jen responsible for finding this fun place with great food , cool cocktails, and most of all, a place as Christmassy as the Mag Mile. Dominique was the girl that was our passport to this Chicago landmark and with her family, they restored my faith in the holidays. They made me feel like that little girl back in Ohio again.

Of course, you are treated like family. That is the basis of Butch McGuire’s dream of owning a saloon. Doesn’t every little Irish boy dream of being a saloon keeper? I mean, even old grumpy Archie Bunker wanted to own one.Butch’s was also a speakeasy at one time in the tradition of Prohibition, the roaring twenties and a certain gangster named Al Capone. This dream came into fruition in 1961 (one year after a certain  ABC President was born) . Rush and Division’s bar corner began with this bar. It is also has the claim of being the first bar in America to serve the legendary Guiness and also the first singles bar.Butch’s was also the first bar to employ female bartenders and is responsible for that brunch staple, the Bloody Mary. So the next time the server places that glass of vodka , tomato juice, and celery , you can thank this humble bar right here in town. They pride them selves on creating cocktails that are works of arts. Unfortunately, we couldn’t try them because of the unseasonable cold. They included a spiced cider and Butch’s Irish coffee. Jen stuck with her soda and with my voice I warmed up with a cup of hot tea. The mugs are the glass ones that you swiped from bars in college. But enough with the history, let’s get to the bar.


The Christmas that we see today started out as just a few balloons on the ceiling. But Butch had some REAL Chicago fire fighters. (No not Taylor Kinney!) help him by hanging these trains from the ceiling. The decorations were originally bought from old Chicago store Goldblats  when they closed. The firemen volunteered to put up the decorations. The best part is they are updated yearly to reflect pop culture that year.


Here we can see the Disney and penguins. The tradition started with an Italian fix it man who worked at the bar. He began with balloons hanging in the bar. Today it takes 14 days to assemble the decorations. It also occupies the bar in more than one room.


Here the classic “Year Without a Santa Claus” is celebrated with Heat and Cold Miser and lights. There are also penguins and minions. Parents love to bring their kids for lunch and grandkids as well. Great place for those Instagram pics and we even made a video there. But enough about the decorations , let’s get to the food.

Everything that is made here is one hundred per cent  fresh and one hundred per cent homemade. We got the real royal VIP treatment there. But hey! everyone is family. No television here unless requested. But you got to know that people were watching when a certain Ohio team was getting slaughtered by our Cubbies. Many of them through the years have visited and consider the Blackhawks frequent visitors. (We were told that nearby at another pub, that old “Luscious” himself was there a few nights ago. Wow Terrence Howard himself.) Another thought came to my mind. My late father, Bill Ferguson always said that the best food came from bars. This place holds to that tradition. We started out with a parade of sliders. The cutest thing was the baby reubens. As an Easterner and NYC born, I fell in love with these little sandwiches. How can one not love corned beef, swiss cheese and homemade thousand island  dressing  with sauerkaraut? Well Jen hates sauerkraut, so this one was all mine.


The sliders were a little piece of heaven. The corned beef was as tender as it could be and the swiss thick and melted. The rye was perfectly toasted and the dressing homemade. Sauerkraut was piled on the sandwich . This was the perfect warm up on a day in Chiberia at ten degrees. They have a lot of flavors of sliders to choose from as well.


As a good Irish Catholic girl, it helps to know where to find a place where you can get awesome fish and chips. After Christmas, Lent is next. They really make fish that reminds me Ohio and Lake Erie. The cod is coated with Samuel Adams beer and deep fried. In Ohio, we do perch from Lake Erie. The tartar sauce and cole slaw are yummy . Oops almost forgot the hand cut fries on the plate. Yes, you can count on us in about three months. Oh and for being on Rush in the main part of the Windy City, prices are not bad.


Jen is our burger expert. This one was a mouthful with eight oz of USDA angus beef with a bun and loads of toppings. You can pick your own toppings, but Jen was boring and got the American cheese with lettuce tomato and a pickle. On the side was a yummy chipotle mayo and huuuge onion rings Bring a knife, you’ll need it for the burger. Wait, they will give you one to cut it. They have a great menu filled with all of our favorite sandwiches. There is even a black bean burger for vegans and Lent.


I know wings  because I am a harsh judge of wings. I am a fan of what I consider the best place for wings outside of buffalo. These wings are what you would consider for a town known for sports. Pair it with a beer or cider and you have it made. They are also made right at Butch’s and name your sauce as well. They got medium, bbq, honey teriyaki, jamaican jerk,  and others. I had the jamaican jerk and it wasn’t too spicy and I also love my Asian tastes when it comes to wings. I also tasted the sweet honey teriyaki.  We also tried the ribs and the pizza dough was made fresh with all the fixings like fresh peppers, onions, and meat.


Hey don’t be a grinch. If you are an out of towner or this is your first visit. (trust me this won’t be our last. Where else would two Irish lassies go on St Patty’s day in Chicago after they dye the river? ) There is plenty of goodies to mark your visit and the cutest is the Ugly Sweater for fifty bucks to benefit Mercy House for Boys and Girls


Doesn’t the minion look festive? You can to0 with this ugly sweater at Butch’s .There are also ornaments for your tree. Butch’s keeps the spirit of Christmas alive. They were so cool with us by giving us our very own Butch’s shirt to add to the collection. And I had to be photographed with the Queen of Butch’s , Dominique . Butch McGuire’s is located at 22 W Division in Chicago


Thanks to Dominique and staff for a wonderful Christmas lunch and the shirts. We will wear them proudly . Great for the gym ….or casual. Merry Christmas from Chitownstarconnections

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Every Age Has It’s Own Beauty


Agunes White has spent her whole life working to help people. Starting in the hair loss and skin care industry, she has aided women who were struggling to get their confidence back after hair loss. Her passion is to make women feel good about themselves. After hair loss that is natural or chemo related, sometimes women have a tendency to lose confidence in themselves. At one point in her life, she made a decision. She started reading and doing research about anti aging and the chemicals that can help to stop the aging process. She enlisted chemists in her search as well. Five long years ,she used to perfect the perfect formula could be used for every skin type. At last, she created the skin system that would turn back time and decrease wrinkles without a needle.

Agunes named the product line SG Sexy Golddigger . I was curious about why she chose the term “golddigger” for her product. After all, society views a “gold digger” as a woman who uses a man for his money and then gets rid of him. Agunes addressed this by saying,”to me a gold digger is any woman. who wants to look sexy, perfect, loves luxury, and has confidence. That is why I love the Housewives of ” ” . They are confident and sexy and know what they want.” She calls her product botox without a needle. It tightens the skin and slows down the aging process. It helps the user to achieve younger looking skin. The best part is that the product is a unisex product . Both men and women can use it and hurray no animal testing. As an actress, I told Agunes that a product like this can be a Godsend. Since I was curious, I asked her if there were any celebs that used her product. She gleefully replied that two famous actors were” Gold Diggers”. The first was Louis Mandylor who played Nia Vardalos brother, and the second is none other than Sonny Corinthos on “General Hospital,” Maurice Bernard.


Louis Mandylor of the “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” uses SG Skin Care


So does Maurice Bernard , who is the long running Sonny Corninthos on “General Hospital.”

Agunes is truly an amazing individual . When I asked her what she did in her spare time, I was expecting her to say travel or shopping. Her answer surprised me. “To be with family and friends and surround herself with love. Money will come and go, but being surrounded by people you love gives you energy and assures success.” she said.

Agunes is not done yet. I wanted to know where does she see herself in five years and she even informed me that at the present time she was working on her dressmaking and designing bathing suits. With her touch for elegance and sexiness, I am sure they will make a splash in the fashion world . Her long term plans include her line being in high end department stores and also in a few more celebrity hands. Without a doubt though, Agunes will score a grand slam with any endeavor she overtakes.




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